In coordination with the Amsterdam Urban Art Museum and Street Art Today, the Mexican calligraffiti artist Said Dokins and photographer Leonardo Luna recently visited The Netherlands, traveling between cities such as Radio Kootwijk, Landgraaf, Heerlen, Arnhem and Amsterdam for his latest project, Heliographies of Memory; a series of luminous paintings set as a backdrop of historic buildings and iconic sites.
About the Series
Heliographies of Memory uses light and movement to explore the concept of displaced memory and nostalgia. Situated amongst sites of strong symbolic value such as public plazas, monuments, bulwarks, and abandoned places, the artist addresses conflicts of power, destruction, and control imposed by both historic and contemporary regimes.
These ephemeral interventions, which Luna captured in a series of photographs reveal what happened, despite not being visible.
Starting out in the woods of the isolated village Radio Kootwijk, they chose an abandoned building that once was a former communications complex during World World 2. Another dissipated landmark selected was in Landgraaf, at the towns oldest Castle Schaesberg, around it’s moated remains.
Upon spending a week in Heerlen, a city composed of ancient, modern and avant-garde architecture, all bundled together two installations from the series can be found. One, in the city center, between three emblematic buildings of different eras, and the other in the former mining area, now called Parkstad Limburg.
In Arnhem, they illuminated the remains of The Airborne Monument, a damaged column belonging to the Justice Palace. Dedicated to the fallen soldiers during WW2’s Market Garden Operation, you can still see the inscription: “17 September 1944”, referring to the Arnhem Battle.
Their last stop was in Amsterdam-Noord, to an old industrial area across the IJ river currently being gentrified. Giving rise to a new urban area at the river shore with hotels, restaurants, galleries and museums it’s turned the neighborhood into a place of production and consumerism. The natives that have lived there through generations in social care housing feel every day more disconnected to their community.
About the Artist
Said Dokins lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico. He studied Visual Arts and Philosophy at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), a background you can easily feel in all his creations. He’s a master in calligraffiti, a practice combining inscriptions and graffiti. His creations are generally inspired by medieval and Japanese calligraphy and he’s curated projects related to urban arts and political issues happening in his country. His work has been shown nationally and internationally in countries like Spain, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, El Salvador, Peru among others.